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Digital audio patchbays?

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Re: Digital audio patchbays?

Postby Blue Lizard » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:17 pm

I was on a similar search a couple of years ago - looked at the Frontier Apache, but ended up with a Friendchip Digimax; much more flexible system as you can swap out modules to cover ADAT, SPDIF, AES etc. Full recall of patching setups from my PC desktop via MIDI. I got the rack unit itself from eBay, but all of the modules were freely available on Thomann.
Worth a look.
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Re: Digital audio patchbays?

Postby Tui » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:28 pm

James Perrett wrote:
Tui wrote:

Still, I can't see why there are no simple and affordable patchbays on the market.

If there was really a market for them then a consumer electronics company would have had Glenn Zelnicker design them a unit that they could manufacture cheaply (in the same way that Focusrite took Mike Kemp's dynamic convolution and turned it into the Liquid range).



Up till very recently, I'm confident there would have been a market for it. Not so much now, I guess.

Still, if you have a couple of FX boxes, external AD/DA converters, and perhaps an ADAT machine you keep for location recording, most interfaces won't allow you to connect all of it. You'll either end up unplugging and reconnecting a lot, or you throw in the towel and use some spare analogue i/o, which, of course, defies the purpose.

I can imagine there is still a number of people that own more digital boxes than could be simultaneously connected to their interface, yet not enough to justify purchasing a $1-2000 router that has all bells and whistles.

Personally, I'd hate spending that amount of money on something that doesn't make a sound.
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Re: Digital audio patchbays?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:27 am

Tui wrote:Personally, I'd hate spending that amount of money on something that doesn't make a sound.


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Re: Digital audio patchbays?

Postby Guest » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:13 pm

Clever boxes aside, if all you want to do is route signals from place to place, without changing them from one type to another or splitting them to multiple destinations, you could just use an appropriate passive patchbay, e.g. BNC for S/PDIF, XLR for AES (or even PO316 - it's less 'to spec' but ime works fine in almost every circumstance), or TOSLink for Lightpipe signals (though TOSLink connectors tend to be crap and wear out very quickly). They won't format convert, etc., but they'll let you route digital around in the same way as analogue. If you're running long lines or have finicky/sensitive equipment you might run into problems with the extra connections and/or cable lengths involved but in a typically smallish home studio you should be able to make it work.

I know that in several places I've built/worked we've routed AES/EBU and optical signals over tens/hundreds of metres without problems (PO316/XLR patching for AES/EBU and LC/SC with an appropriate glass fibre for opticals). One mastering facility contained over 4000m of AES/EBU cabling, with all but one room using PO316 patchbays for internal routing and access to tie-lines (the other room used XLRs) and about 1500m of optical fibre. You can also patch AES/EBU using RJ45 Cat5/6 data patchbays but I've only done this a few times (so far without problems) and don't know how common a practice it is.


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